Malaysia may need 12 weeks to flatten Covid-19 curve, says top health official

A view of deserted roads during a lockdown in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 13, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA - A senior official at Malaysia's Health Ministry said on Wednesday (Jan 13) that it may take some 12 weeks for the country to flatten the Covid-19 curve, local media has reported.

The ministry's director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said the movement curbs that were reimposed in parts of the country on Wednesday will hopefully reduce the load of Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

He said the projection of flattening the curve by May could change after two weeks of the movement control order (MCO), Malaysiakini online news reported him as saying.

"What's important is that we stay on the right track and adhere to the guidelines. Stay at home. If you have to go out, wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your distance. Hopefully, that will reduce new cases," he was quoted as saying at his daily Covid-19 news conference.

"In terms of flattening the curve, we expect to see it in 12 weeks. We will implement (the MCO) for two weeks. We'll see later if we need (further action).

"Based on the data, in May, we can flatten the curve in the country," he said.

Malaysia from Wednesday imposed the MCO in five states, and in three federal territories including Kuala Lumpur.

The daily infection rate averaged more than 2,000 a day in the last few weeks and hit a record-high of 3,309 on Tuesday, when Malaysia imposed a state of emergency to deal with the pandemic.

Dr Noor Hisham said the two-week MCO period may not be enough to see a significant reduction in Covid-19 cases.

"In my opinion, we probably won't be able to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases. But we will be able to prevent the cases from increasing," he was quoted as saying by The Star online news.

"If we implement the MCO for four weeks, we can reduce the cases to below 1,000, and then 500. Then we would have better capacity to treat patients.

"If we implement the MCO, followed by the conditional MCO, we might be able to see the curve flatten in May or June," he added.

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